How can I get tested for hepatitis C?

Testing is the only way to find out if you have hepatitis C.

It takes two tests to know if you have hepatitis C.

The first test: Hepatitis C antibody testing

This blood test looks for antibodies that your body would create in your blood after being exposed to the virus.

After being exposed to the virus, your body can take six weeks to six months to produce enough antibodies to show up in a test. 

Even if a person clears a virus on their own or through treatment, there will always be antibodies in the blood. The presence of antibodies alone does not mean that a person can pass hepatitis C on to someone else. A second test is needed to look for the virus in the blood.

The second test: Virus testing

This test (called a PCR test, a viral load test or an RNA test) checks for active hepatitis C infection. A negative result means that a person does not have hepatitis C. A positive test result means that a person has the virus and can pass it on to others.